Empty and Anxious: Life with Anxiety | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Empty and Anxious: Life with Anxiety

By Desirae Willard

I always hear how people think anxiety isn’t real. How it’s just “in someone’s head” and not real. People look at you weird when they find out you suffer from anxiety. They don’t understand the daily struggle. They just don’t know and if only they did…

Just imagine yourself doing daily routines and out of nowhere you feel panicky, anxious, your heart starts to race and you don’t know what triggered it and don’t know when it’s going to stop. Imagine what you look like to others. Imagine doing this every day or for some it happens randomly. This is what having anxiety feels like. Now imagine dealing with this daily or for life. This is what life with anxiety is like for me and many others. This is what life with anxiety is like.

Life with anxiety is feeling anxious to talk on the phone and it’s hard to force yourself to do.

I know I have to do it in order to get stuff done. I’ll sit right next to the phone or have the phone in my hand, just looking at it wondering if I’m going to dial the number or put the phone back down. If I go with dialing the number then I start to question myself. What am I going to say? Will I stumble over my words? What if I forget what to say then end up sounding silly? See to a normal person that sounds silly and you’re probably thinking “Really? It’s not that hard. You’re just over thinking and overreacting!” But no, I’m not overreacting or over thinking. It’s something I struggle with hard. It’s not easy.

Life with anxiety is being afraid to talk to a person face to face.

I don’t know what to say especially when it’s a new person. Should I just introduce myself like “Hey, my name is Desirae and I suffer from depression and anxiety”? No. Then I’ll probably run them off. But if I get past that part without saying all that mumbo jumbo then I freak out about what I should say next. Because you know you don’t want to seem rude and just walk off but you start to panic because you don’t feel comfortable, then these thoughts start rushing through your mind and you don’t know what to do. It’s like your fight or flight sense kicks in and your mind is telling you to run, run as fast as you can. So then you start to think of excuses to leave but once again you don’t want to seem rude or stuck up. But eventually you finally come up with an excuse and try to speak but it’s like it’s stuck in your throat and don’t want to come out. Now you’re thinking I probably look like an idiot right about now so I’m just going to crawl in a hole and hide out for the rest of my life. See seems silly right? But to me it’s a daily struggle.

Life with anxiety is hate walking outside alone or around big crowds.

This is my every day struggle. Just thinking about going outside alone or around a bunch of people sets my anxiety off the charts. I’ll debate with myself if I should just stay inside or suck up my fear and get it over with. See this one is also a struggle because being a mom to a very outgoing, adventurous toddler it’s hard trying to stay hidden from the world. Going to the park to play is hard because I’m constantly hovering over her. Constantly telling myself not to look away because you don’t know what can happen. It’s hard when I have her brother in my lap because I can’t constantly watch her every move, eventually I’ll have to pick up a toy he dropped or look down to get his bottle ready so he can eat. I just want to keep her by me at all times especially when the parks are crowded. I start to think “What if she gets kidnapped and I’m not there to save her?” “What if she runs off even though she knows not to and I can’t find her?” Then I get to freaking myself out. If there’s ever a moment when I don’t see her, I start to panic and it’s not a good feeling. I start shouting her name all hesitant, shaking like crazy for no reason, making myself look like a freak cause I can just read it on everyone’s facial expressions. To others I probably look silly. To some I may look like I’m on something but I’m not. I’m just a mom struggling with anxiety.

Life with anxiety is being afraid to tell people that you suffer from anxiety.

This is a big one for me because I’ll automatically feel judged. I’ll start thinking that they don’t want to be around me anymore. Like I’m some freak show. Like I’m so weirdo that they let loose. I’ve been told that it’s all in my head, I need to relax and chill, everything will be fine, don’t stress about it, etc. But little do they know that it’s not in my head. I can’t relax and chill and everything won’t be okay. You can tell me to not stress out about things but I still will. If the topic about being medicated pops up I hesitate about if I should just come out and say “Yes, I’m medicated” or change the subject really quick because like I’ve said before you feel like they’re judging you.

These are just some of the things people with anxiety live with. I could go on and on but then this post would be so long. But let me just say it’s tough living life with anxiety. I wish people who don’t suffer from it would understand what it’s like, what it feels like when you’re having an attack. One day you may seem fine. You may not have an attack or not as bad but just know it happens and sometimes it happens randomly. It hits you when you least expect it. The random attacks are hard to overcome believe me. It’s not easy suffering from anxiety. But I hope after reading this those who don’t suffer now have a sneak peek about what it’s like. They now know what me and many others deal with.


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